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Orange is the New Black S01 recap: Season 1 spoiler alert

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This is the episode where Chapman finally accepts that Litchfield is her life now, and that outside is outside: a distant place to be revisited on a distant day. She abandons a conference call with her bestie and the Barney's buyer to chase that chicken, just as fast as the no-running rule will allow... only to find that the bird has– perhaps magically– found its way to the other side of the fence. To freedom. When I talk about "Orange is the New Black", I'm talking about this image:

This episode is also when we meet Tiffany "Pennsatucky" Doggett. She's presented as a sort of white-trash comic relief at first, but a deeper layer of malice is plainly visible. Pennsatucky's attempt to raise a grotesque homemade cross causes the prison chapel ceiling to collapse and release all kinds of asbestos. Turns out the place is toxic in more than just the figurative sense. The guards get masks for the cleanup, while the inmates do not.

Oh, and we learn during an AA meeting that Vause turned to heroin herself after Chapman left her. Never get high on your own supply.

The latest back-story is that of Almiera and Daya Diaz, a mother and daughter both serving time for getting involved with the same douchebag drug trafficker, who had them packaging blow in their apartment. I am reminded of "Stranger Inside", a far more intense prison drama about a daughter and mother, both caught for life in the system, finding each other in prison.

Daya is a manga-drawing romantic who falls for a nice-guy correctional officer called Bennett. This cannot, cannot, cannot end well.

S01E06: WAC Pack

Healy is re-forming the Women's Advisory Council (WAC), basically a chance to make the inmates feel like they have some say in how their lives are run while in prison. It's a high-school-government sham that lets us look at the racial divisions in Litchfield. The way Poussey and Taystee portray white people is eerily accurate, though, if you've been keeping an eye on the gentrification of New York City's boroughs:

Red is grooming Morello as her rep in the WAC, while Pennsatucky is aiming to rep Jesus. However, Healy assigns the white-girl WAC position to Chapman, who didn't even run. Red is capable of understanding that this wasn't Chapman's call, but Pennsatucky is not.

Daya and Bennett finally hook up in a utility closet, and Daya doesn't mind his artificial leg.

Meanwhile, Chapman discovers the source of the pornographic photos that are somehow coming out of Litchfield: turns out that the crazy lady in the sole private toilet stall wasn't talking to herself after all... she had a mobile phone hidden in there.

S01E07: Blood Donut

Watson is released from the SHU as Vause and Chapman tentatively reach out to one another. (Though it turns out that Vause named Chapman in exchange for a reduced sentence, Larry kept that info from his fiancée in order to keep her from doing anything stupid that would extend her sentence.)

Pennsatucky begins harassing Chapman over the WAC appointment. Vause threatens to rape the young meth-head if she doesn't back off. I have a bad feeling about this.

Chapman tries to get Healy to re-open the track for Watson, but Healy wants the source of the porn pics in return. When Chapman delivers the mobile phone, Healy demands the name of the phone's owner. Since Chapman wiped the phone's identifying details, He breaks the deal. the crazy lady finds out her phone got ganked and breaks the toilet-stall door. No more private stall.

Eventually the track reopens, thanks to prison counselor Joe Caputo's infatuation with the new guard, Susan Fischer, whose attempts to look tough are straight-up hilarious.

The crux of this episode is Taystee's preparation for her early-release hearing. For a black woman behind bars, her hair and appearance have more to do with how the board decides than any facts around her case.

Or, as Poussey puts it, "Maybe go easy on the bitch smacking." This is as on-the-nose as "Orange is the new Black"'s social commentary has gotten, but it fits in nicely with the flow of the storytelling. The flip side of this is how Chapman's efforts to reopen the track are really driven by guilt over Watson's getting thrown in the SHU, though she self-justifies by saying it's for the overall health of all the inmates.

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